In this new series of book reviews, we plan to introduce you to some of the best serial literature out there. And to get you excited about reading these series, we’re skipping straight to the best books!
I was told to read the Honor Harrington books for several years before I finally conceded to my friends’ suggestions. And let me tell you: I regretted not starting these sooner.
If you like military sci-fi, space navies, and amazing, Ellen Ripley-like female protagonists, then you need to check out these books. And when you get to Flag In Exile, I’m sure you’ll thank me.
Read the review if you’re not yet convinced!
Honor Harrington Books in Reading Order
The Honor Harrington books are an ordered series. This means that there is planned continuity between the books. If you would like to start at the beginning, here is the recommended order:
Flag In Exile (Best In Series)
The Protagonist (No Spoilers)
Honor Harrington is an officer in the Manticoran Royal Navy, and this series describes her meteoric rise from a small ship commander of common birth to a Fleet Admiral with titles of nobility on two different planets.
As a character, Harrington is undeniably a Mary Sue—that is, she is: intelligent, attractive (but not beautiful, the author insists), in peak physical condition, and perfectly disciplined in every imaginable way.
Yet at the same time, she is empathetic and relatable. Perhaps it’s due to the ways that her enemies attack her, but the reader is drawn to sympathize with her and cheer her on, despite her overwhelming advantage in just about every personal conflict.
Her advantage typically disappears when she is in battle, however. Most of her naval accomplishments are won despite being outnumbered and out-gunned.
Honor also has faithful friends and a faithful pet, which makes her endearing. Her telepathic ‘treecat’ gives her several social and tactical benefits, in addition to being cute and fluffy.
Overall, I would say that Honor Harrington is one of the best protagonists I have read since Ender Wiggin.
Why This Book Is The Best (Spoilers Hidden)
One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy the Honor Harrington books is how David Weber weaves together military conflict, civilian conflict, and personal conflict in each book. And I’ve concluded that Flag In Exile does this even better than the rest of the books in the series.
It was tempting to award ‘Best In Series’ to the immediately preceding novel, Field Of Dishonor, where Harrington finally resolves the conflict between her and her long-time antagonist, Pavel Young. That moment was extraordinary, and many readers might argue that Field Of Dishonor is the superior book.
But Flag In Exile hits even harder, if that’s possible. Honor Harrington starts off the book exiled from her own country and her own navy, and adopted by a foreign country (many of whom hate her simply because she is a woman with authority).
She overcomes these prejudices, helps her adopted country not only in civilian development but also protects them from a military incursion from the Havenite navy. Her valor in battle is not only brave, but stunningly clever.
Toward the end of the book, she comes face-to-face with an enemy that she didn’t even know she had, and she deals with him with steadfast resolve and poignant wit.
Flag In Exile weaves together three conflicts in a seamless tapestry of storytelling, and resolves each one with flair. We highly recommend the Honor Harrington books, and this one is the best in the series.
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